An in-depth journey offering fresh new adventures in the Old World.
Beautifully preserved Prague has enchanted visitors for ages, but it is only a tiny part of this extraordinary voyage through eight nations. Sail past quaint villages and great cities on the glorious Danube, visiting baroque abbeys and medieval cathedrals, tasting fine wines and encountering new cultures. Along the way, you’ll uncover the splendid Habsburg capitals of Vienna and Budapest, as well as the many hidden treasures of Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria.
Who will enjoy this cruise/tour? Travelers seeking to explore famed capitals and storied lands, to meet new people and encounter diverse cultures, will relish their time on this picture-perfect journey.
Portraits of Eastern Europe is a combination of Delightful Danube & Prague and Highlights of Eastern Europe.
Arrive at Bucharest Henri Coandă International Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the hotel.
On today’s agenda—a guided tour of the infamous Ceaușescu Mansion. Venture to the opulent former residence of Romania’s former leader Nicolae Ceaușescu, where you’ll have a guided tour. It’s been more than a quarter of a century since deposed Romanian president Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were executed by a firing squad on Christmas Day in 1989, but now you can roam the opulent 80-room residence where the couple once lived, situated on 3.5 acres of grounds in one of Bucharest’s most desirable neighborhoods.
Bucharest, Transfer to Giurgiu (Embark)
Bucharest is a fascinating combination of Communist grandiosity, elegant French-influenced 19th-century buildings and surprising survivors dating from the 1500s. Today in Bucharest you’ll enjoy a panoramic city tour or a walking tour in the old Lipscani district. Later, you'll travel via motorcoach to Giurgiu, where your ship awaits.
Bulgaria’s foremost Danube port, Rousse is sometimes called “Little Vienna” for its elegant 19th-century mansions and public buildings. You may choose to see some of the town after venturing to a pair of historic monasteries or spend the day visiting two historic hill towns.
Cruising the Danube River, Vidin
Vidin is a port town on the Danube that once played an important role in medieval Bulgarian politics, as the great fortress Baba Vida attests. It’s your base for an unusual excursion today—a visit to the fascinating Belogradchik rock formations. Or you can head to a local’s home to bake a traditional Bulgarian dish called banitsa.
Cruising the Iron Gates, Golubac
Today’s main attraction will be the spectacular scenery along the Danube, as you cruise a stretch of gorges known as the Iron Gates. Later, head ashore to explore a Paleolithic site and an extraordinarily well-preserved medieval fortress. All along the way, history lines the banks of the river. Keep an eye out for Trajan’s Plaque, which the ancient Romans erected to commemorate the road they anchored in the steep cliffs above the water, and Golubac Castle, built in the 14th century and attacked successively by the Serbs, Magyars and Turks.
Belgrade, the modern-day capital of Serbia, is one of Europe’s oldest cities, dating back some 7,000 years. Signs of its tumultuous history are visible everywhere, juxtaposed with the city’s vibrant modern-day present.
Vukovar (Osijek), Cruising the Danube River
Welcome to Croatia! This ancient country, which has made a remarkable recovery from a brutal civil war, is noted for its beautiful countryside and thriving folk traditions, as well as simple, delicious local rustic food. You’ll dock in Vukovar, Croatia’s biggest port, at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka rivers.
Cruising the Danube River, Budapest
Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each have their own distinctive character and allure. Explore this dynamic and multifaceted city with your choice of excursions—you can see it from a local’s perspective on our walking tour, cover more ground with a panoramic tour or “Let’s Go” with a guided bike ride. Vibrant Budapest, Hungary’s capital, offers an enchanting combination of East and West.
Enjoy a day of leisure, exploring the Hungarian capital to your heart’s content. Other passengers are heading home today, but you are only halfway through your marvelous holiday. Today you have an opportunity to explore Budapest’s treasures at your leisure. It’s a mecca for lovers of art nouveau architecture—the building housing the Franz Liszt Academy of Music is a particularly noteworthy example of the style—so perhaps you would like to take yourself on a tour of some of these beauties. For a reminder of the centuries when Hungary was ruled by the Ottoman Turks, take a look at the 16th-century tomb of Gül Baba (and enjoy a Turkish coffee at the adjoining coffeehouse). Treat yourself to a relaxing day at one of the city’s splendid spas, such as the Gellért Baths, or borrow one of the ship’s bicycles and explore Margaret Island. Your options are many, and all of them are delightful.
Budapest, Cruising the Danube River
Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each has a distinctive character and allure all its own. Explore this dynamic and multi-faceted city with your choice of excursions—you can see it from a local’s perspective on our "Do as the Locals Do" walking tour, or cover more ground with a panoramic tour.
Cruising the Danube River, Vienna
The grand dame of the Danube, Vienna was the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and remains, to this day, the political and cultural center of Austria. Klimt painted here; Beethoven and Mozart composed here; Freud developed his theories here. It’s a treasure trove of splendid architecture, astonishing art collections and inviting cafés—and today it is yours to explore. A city tour will show you the architectural highlights of the Austrian capital as well as the legendary opera house in the heart of the city. Or, indulge your passion for art with visits to two distinctively different collections—a “cabinet of curiosities” collected by the Habsburgs and the Belvedere’s extraordinary cache of paintings by Klimt and other renowned artists.
Cruising the Wachau Valley, Spitz
You’ll want to find a comfortable seat in the lounge or on the Sun Deck today as your ship cruises through the Wachau Valley toward Spitz. Over the eons, the Danube cut a gorge through the foothills of the Bohemian mountains, resulting in a 19-mile (30-kilometer) stretch of riverine scenery so beautiful, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Landscape. Castle ruins dominate hilltops; baroque church towers appear on the riverbanks, marking historic villages and splendid abbeys; and apricot orchards and vineyards cling to the rocky slopes. Some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced from grapes ripening on the dry-stone terraces above the river, where grapes have been grown for 2,000 years. Your ship will dock in Spitz, midway through this glorious landscape. Later, enjoy a private sparkling wine reception at Artstetten Castle.
Engelhartszell, Cruising the Danube River, Passau
Your ship cruises through a scenic highlight of the Danube today, the Schlögener Schlinge—a hairpin loop in the Danube that was once very hazardous for ships and is now a lovely, serene stretch of water—and leaves Austria behind today. Your first German port of call is Passau, where three rivers meet—the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube—and three nations almost meet: Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, making for a fascinating cultural mosaic. Get to know the town and its main claim to fame, Europe’s largest pipe organ, or join an invigorating riverside hike or bike ride.
You have your choice of adventures in Regensburg, famous for its beautiful, UNESCO protected old city center. “Regensburg is so beautifully situated; this region had to attract a town,” wrote Goethe in his Diary of an Italian Voyage. And attract a town it did, but not due to its beautiful location alone. Ambitious and farseeing locals built a bridge (Steinerne Brücke, or Stone Bridge) over the Danube back in the 12th century, making Regensburg an international trading hub. Because so many of the handsome buildings from that period remain, UNESCO declared the old city center a World Heritage Site in 2006.
Regensburg, Roth, Nuremberg
The Main-Danube canal is a masterwork of engineering: It allows ships of all shapes and sizes to cruise from the Black Sea all the way to the North Sea, through no fewer than 15 countries. Sixteen locks punctuate the 106-mile (160-kilometer) stretch between Kelheim and Bamberg, linking the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. Building the canal was no small task, especially considering changes of altitude (each river is different); the locks gently lift and lower the ships an astonishing 1,332 feet (406 meters) over the continental divide. Efforts to connect the rivers began with Charlemagne in AD 793, but the present-day canal was only completed in 1992.
Nuremberg (Disembark), Transfer to Prague
Disembark the ship early and set your sights on the “city of a hundred spires” as you transfer to Prague via motorcoach.
Is it possible not to be completely enchanted by Prague, with its fabled skyline of spires, fortress-like castle, beautifully preserved architecture and iconic Charles Bridge? A magnet for generations of artists, writers, scientists and composers, Prague is famous for its dynamic energy and elegant ambiance (and the beers here are pretty amazing, too).
You’ve experienced the best of the Danube River and Prague, sampling myriad culinary delights and exploring fascinating stops along the way. Now your journey comes to a close. If your cruise/tour includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Prague Václav Havel Airport for your flight home. Your Uniworld adventure may be over, but we know you’ll enjoy the memories you’ve made for years to come.